At Labor Day we stop to commemorate the great work of past generations of workers, celebrating the fairer wages and safer workplaces they fought so hard to achieve. For this Labor Day, we need to build upon the past and look into the future, toward the next wave of American workers: freelancers. Let’s weave freelancers into the fabric of the American labor tradition by updating our strategies for this era.
In an op-ed for Monday’s The New York Times, I wrote about the challenges facing freelance workers, new policy solutions that address these concerns, and the need for leaders to better support the independent workforce.
The subject matter isn’t new to members of Freelancers Union, but our goal is to keep pushing the issue further to the fore. As freelancers come together and build a new constituency, we will build a new network of policymakers who, together with us, want to build the next American dream.
There’s a lot more to this conversation -- and this is just a sign of things to come. In other words, the freelance economy is here, momentum is growing, and politicians are taking note.
And it’s about time! Freelancers already make up one-third of the workforce and more people are choosing to take the leap every day.
Regardless of how the individual freelancer feels about this trend, independent workers face a number of common issues.
From the anxiety and isolation that comes from periods without income to a virtual lack of recourse against wage theft and lack of a social safety net, this new era of work requires new solutions.
We will see more elected officials engage on these issues as we become more organized and active.
Freelancers, what issues speak to you most? Do you feel like the current presidential candidates have your best interests in mind?